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Title: All’s Well that Ends Well
Author: William Shakespeare
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Format: Digital Edition
A young woman, Helena, the daughter of a famous doctor now deceased, has been taken under wing by the noble family Rousillon. She falls in love with the family heir, Bertram but knows her commoner status will prevent her from ever marrying Bertram. Helena remembers a secret formula that her father gave to her and uses it to cure the King of France (Boo!) who in turn pretty much grants her one wish. She chooses to marry Bertram and the King makes it so.
Bertram chooses to go to war to avoid his bride and falls in lust with a young lady where he is stationed. Helena tracks him down and tells her tale to the young lady. Shenanigans ensue and Bertram woos and beds his wife thinking it’s his paramour.
The young lady, under the direction of Helena, goes to the king to get justice and Bertram acts like a complete loser and denies everything. Helena jumps out of the closet with a secret ring and pregnant and claims Bertram as her own. Bertram is so overcome by his wife’s cleverness and determination that he falls in love with her.
I am guessing this was supposed to be one of Shakespeare’s comedies. Lots of clever wordplay where people make fun of each other and ham it up to the audience. However, I hated Bertram so half the play was a bust for me. He was just a jerk. The ending was as much a hollywood blockbuster ending as you could wish for, ie, everything gets resolved even if it makes no sense whatsoever.
It did take me a little while to get into the cadence of the reading this as a play and not as a novel. I also had to really slow down and think about what I was reading because how it was presented was not what I am used to. It is always a good thing to slow the reading down and not devour it like I am in a hotdog eating contest.
Overall, I am pleased at this start to my reading of the Complete Shakespeare.